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Melbourne to Sydney via Canberra, with a new chain halfway!

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by cragv, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. This will not be my typical ride report with a nice story and pics to match - sorry! It wasn't my typical ride...

    The ride: Melbourne to Canberra via the Monaro Hwy; Canberra to Sydney; Sydney to Canberra; Canberra to Melbourne.
    The stats: ~2,200km in 4 days, with about a quarter of that time spent on two wheels.
    The map: here (intended route).

    I went north last Friday morning for a family gathering in Sydney, and stayed with some close friends in Canberra, so while this was a riding trip, it really was more of a social journey.
    Day 1 - was brilliant; lovely twisting roads and varying scenery.
    Day 2 - was a quick blat up the freeway from ACT to Sydney - near the end of this run, my chain decided to kick the bucket. It'd been unwell since I got the bike, but I was managing it with regular lube and hopeful expectation. I thought she'd have a few more thousand kays to give, but no. Developed a nasty tight spot that was not pretty. I spent the night with the extended family in Sydney (the reason for the trip - hadn't seen most people there for 11+ years), then since it was Saturday arvo, I had to wait for Monday for a bike shop to be open.
    Day 3 - I limped the bike back to Canberra, with the intention of changing the chain and sprockets on Monday morning.
    Day 4 - Realised I'd left my wallet at a servo near Sydney (d'oh!), but my friendly host Terry was happy to drive me north to collect it (someone handed it in!) while the bike was fixed in Canberra. Nice! Left Canberra at 2.30pm and motored home straight down the Hume Fwy. Not the interesting route I'd planned in the above map, but the time I'd gotten to spend with Terry & family in Canberra, as well as the extended fam in Sydney on Saturday evening, made the whole trip well worth the mucking around. I got home about 10pm that night.

    I still have a bunch of nice roads I'd like to explore that eluded me this time, but they're certainly not forgotten about. The heated grips (and beefy Yuasa battery) I installed after last week's chilly adventure worked really well, so with the chain and sprockets sorted, the old FJ is ready for the next Big Adventure. Looking forward to it, whenever it is!

    Near 'D' on the map - Victorian hills heading down the winding road to Moe

    This one after 'R' on the map - southern NSW, somewhere along the Monaro Hwy

    Our nation's capital, near 'K' on the map - in Canberra, ACT of course!

    Some quick comments on certain roads:
    - the Noojee road (from Yarra Junction (near 'V') to Moe 'E') was brilliant. Lots of curves, little traffic, just a great ride. My second time on that stretch of road, and really, it's still my favourite road ever.
    - the first 170km of the Monaro Hwy, where it starts just below NSW at the Cann River ('I') to Cooma ('J') is a barrel of fun. Fast, flowing, curvy and smooth. Awesome stuff.
    - the Snowy Mountains Hwy - a road I did not get to ride on - looks just spectacular on the map and road atlas. I will plan a trip along this stretch of road very soon!
    - from Eden back to the Monaro Hwy ('P' to 'R') also is a section of road I really missed not being able to do - again, will plan to head north again soon
    - Peter 'The Bear' Thoeming's Australian Motorcycle Atlas (Fourth Ed.) was very helpful in planning my routes here. I picked it up from a BP servo a few weeks back for about $40. Well worth the asking price, and it will be invaluable in my future ride plans. Was a pleasure to use.
    - for any locals reading this, N-M-O, P-Q-R and S-T-U all look to be amazing sections of road. Peter Thoeming heartily recommends these stretches of tarmac.

    General notes from the ride:
    - the heated grips were essential for winter riding, as proven last week along the GOR. The Before and After were chalk and cheese. I would NOT recommend doing a winter ride in Vic without them!
    - the swag on my bike seemed to harm my fuel consumption somewhat. I averaged 6.6L/100km on this ride, but would have expected closer to 6L/100km generally on the highway. The bike is also eating oil kinda fast - about 500mL per 1000km. I know it's an old engine, but this is still a fairly rapid consumption! Will keep an eye on this.
    - travelling in Winter is an amazing scenic choice too, with snow on nearby mountains and little traffic on the road. The engine ran brilliantly too. IMO, the exchange of freezing cold air for these positive points makes for an experience I'd be happy to repeat.
    - my daily limit on a ride is about 800km, currently. I don't think I would be too happy on the bike with more kays than this, although the longer summer days may help me to stretch things out somewhat.
    - I must remember to take more photos next time! I only took about 8 from the whole ride! While I was having fun at the time, I am disappointed I now can't share a lot of the amazing scenery I rode through with you.

    Overall, it was a very good experience, and I'm ready to plan the next big trip. Cheers for reading :)
  2. Cragv,

    Mate, have really enjoyed reading your posts regarding your recent journeys to different parts of Oz. Very interesting read and great to look at all your pictures. Thanks for taking the time to share your adventures with us.
    After having been bitten by the motorbike bug in general, a while back, I find the touring side of the sport/passion now very inspiring...won't be long before I set off on trips of my own in the future, though it won't necessarily be on the Gixer :cool:
    Cheers and thanks for all your reviews.
  3. +1 Touring, exploring, adventuring, meandering...nothing else compares!

    (But you're gonna get another bike...already?? :eek:)
  4. Mattb,

    Dude, what's your uptake on this 'new' Viffa 1200 ? Find it very interesting. I know there's another related post in these forums, but on the topic of sports-touring, I wonder if this Viffa will put it back on top in its class....hmmm...

    I've seen lots of Australia by road (cage) and air, and seeing lots of the world at present by air, but if there's one thing I REALLY want to do is see Australia (the most beautiful country in the world) on 2 wheels...it's very inspiring to read the guys' reviews.
  5. I wouldn't have a clue to be honest - the bikes I know about tend to be the cheap middle-weights and light-weights, esp the 70s and early 80s stuff (Budget motorcyclist!:)) I can recommend an SR500 or the highly advanced and experimental '83 GR650! :grin: (I dream of doing to a Kwaka GT550 what Bikeboy is doing to his Super Bol D'Or.) Why don't you pick up this to keep alongside your sports bike https://netrider.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?t=66692 There's nothing like a single!

    That FJ looks alright!
  6. Hahaha, thanks mate...I'll check it out :LOL:
  7. Re: Melbourne to Sydney via Canberra, with a new chain halfw

    I sometimes think the same thing when I get back, until I remember how nice it was to have a few days where I was just taking it all in and not thinking about anything too much. You can go overboard and become one of those tourists who see their world trip through a 12mm camera viewfinder, or someone whose wedding is essentially planned around the photographer!

    Heated grips are the schizzle, no? :LOL:
  8. Good write up, seems your trip was every bit "the Adventure"

    Ridden quite a few of those roads, and plenty of fun :cool:

    And have never said "wish I hadn't stopped to take that picture" :wink:
  9. Thanks for the comments, guys. Heated grips are awesome - I don't think I'll own another bike without installing them, considering I ride all year round. After last week's little misadventure, how could I ever forget?!

    This ride was unusual in that I did have a bit on my mental plate over the weekend. The ride became secondary in fact, so although I started out with the intention of a story and pics, that all became unthreaded by the end of Day 2.

    Not to worry - I have another ride planned on nearby roads for sometime a bit later in the year - since I'll be getting some higher altitude on this one, I'll need to wait until mid-late spring before attempting it, to allow the black ice to clear from the roads. This is a two-day trip from Melbourne to Cooma and back again that looks alright; about 800km each way. I've already ridden the roads from Melbourne to Bairnsdale and Mt Beauty to Melbourne this year, so everything north and east of those points on the map (from E to L) will be new territory; about 650km of new tarmac (ignoring the boring stretch on the Hume Fwy).